Ted Mazer, MD, an otolaryngologist in San Diego and former president of the San Diego County Medical Society was interviewed and this question was posed.
“We’re all eager to find guidelines that work, outcome measures that help patient care and cost-efficiency. But until they’re ready for prime time, they’re being used as economic squeezes,” he says. “The government, the academies, the health plans are all trying to do it. But until these measures are ready, they should not be put to use as an economic vice on physician practice.”
Realistically, in ENT, he says, one could cheap ventolin hfa measure symptoms experienced by patients after ENT surgery, and there are good measures for chronic sinusitis. “Sinusitis is being heavily monitored right now to see if too much surgery is being done.”
But Mazer, like many other doctors and healthcare professionals, fears that if doctors are forced to document even more, they will spend less time on patient care. This is the age-old dilemma that was first spawned from protecting oneself from law suits. Take care of the patient vs. take care of the charting.
“That’s one of the things that’s frustrating the hell out of physicians and causing them to talk about getting out of the practice,” he says.
The public wanted change and we are certainly headed for much interesting change ahead!
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